One of the easiest ways to receive legal permanent resident status (green card status) is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. U.S. immigration laws aim at reuniting families and that is the reason why U.S. citizens and green card holders are permitted to sponsor and bring their relatives to the U.S. But many enter into sham marriages for money and for immigration benefits.
In order to combat such abuse, the U.S. Congress has granted the immigration authorities the power to investigate and penalize people involving in marriage fraud. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not issue green cards to all those who apply based on marriage unless they are able to prove that their marriage is bona fide.
A lot of people get into sham marriages for immigration purposes. USCIS recently sentenced four Kenyan nationals to prison, for marriage and visa fraud. These persons had recruited U.S. citizens who had agreed to marry African nationals for money. The citizens were paid $5000 for their participation in sham marriages. Marriage fraud is a crime and people involving in it will be jailed or removed from the country. U.S. citizens entering into sham marriages will lose their U.S. citizenship.
For falsely acquiring immigration benefits many involve in sham marriages in which both the parties do not intend on entering into a bona fide marriage. The purpose such a marriage is to evade the immigration laws and enjoy immigration benefits. Only the couple will be aware of the intention of their marriage.
However, immigration officers consider several factors prior to approving applications for green cards based on marriage. They require the couple to prove that they share their lives. They need to prove that by submitting several documents including their joint bank account statements, children’s birth certificates that have both their names, rental agreements and photos taken along with their family members.
Immigration authorities catch a lot of people who involve in marriage fraud. USCIS warns people not to violate the U.S. immigration laws as they would face criminal persecution and they also may not be able to get back to the U.S. once they are removed from the country for committing marriage fraud.